The LGBT+ community have been behind and been the subject matter of many inspiring and compelling works of literature for centuries. On World Book Day we celebrate just a few of the many LGBT+ themed books that are a must in everyone’s collection.
So, without further ado, here are some amazing LGBT+ books for all ages you should check out this World Book Day.
The Art of Drag
From the trans women resisting police brutality to the Hollywood starlets laying the blueprint for hyper-femininity, there’s a world of drag that’s been forgotten or erased. In this new book, non-binary freelance journalist Jake Hall, delves into the very beginnings of drag, to the present day and beyond.
Illustrated by a series of hugely talented queer artists, it’s not just a history of drag as we know it today, but a deconstruction of its various elements – performance, theatre, politics, freakiness, charisma and influence – across a timeline which stretches back to Ancient Greece and extends to the future, where a handful of burgeoning drag superstars will take over.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender,
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.
And Tango Makes Three
Remember those gay penguins at the Central Park Zoo? And Tango Makes Three tells the true story of penguin couple Roy and Silo. After incubating a rock as a substitute for an egg, the couple won the sympathy of their zookeepers and were given a spare egg from another nest. They took turns sitting on the egg until it hatched, and baby Tango went on to warm hearts around the world.
First published in 2007, this is one of the few LGBT+ books available to help parents and teachers introduce the idea of a nontraditional family at home or in school.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is a relief. Relief they’ll never know that hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules.
The book has been adapted into a film starring Chloë Grace Moretz.
Julián Is A Mermaid
In this beautifully illustrated picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one little boy full of wonder.
While riding the subway home with his Abuela, Julián notices three women in beautiful dresses that end in fishtails. All he can think about is dressing up like them, in a mermaid costume of his very own – and so begins a story of family, identity and self-expression.
Drawing on the popular mermaid image that saw the founding of transgender children’s charity Mermaids, Julian Is A Mermaid was published by Candlewick Press in 2018.
Tales of the City
San Francisco, 1976. A naïve young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests. The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous – unmistakably the handiwork of Armistead Maupin.
This book is the first in a six-part series constructed from a serial column in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Sleeper And The Spindle
In Neil Gaiman’s fairytale retelling The Sleeper And The Spindle, the kiss that awakens a sleeping princess is not from a prince but from a young queen, who rides to the rescue in chain mail.
What makes this book so special is that, at its centre, it’s not a gay love story. Instead, a kiss between women is included as one plot point among many – not even a big deal, and not a problem but an act of rescue.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
This book has won many awards including the Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature in 2013 and has been hailed as “realistic young adult fiction” by many readers.
Rachel Plummer’s poetry collection Wain, aimed at teen readers, reimagines Scottish myths as stories of LGBT+ identities. It features kelpies, selkies, and lesser-known mythical creatures such as the Cat Sìth.
This essential book reminds LGBT+ teens that their identities are real, whether anyone else believes in them or not and it makes a fantastic read on World Book Day.
Virginia Woolf’s Orlando ‘The longest and most charming love letter in literature’, playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf’s close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West.
Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth’s England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England under James I lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost. At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Constantinople, awakes to find that he is a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The book was adapted to film in 1992 with Tilda Swinton taking the lead as Orlando.
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.